What do you make yourself for lunch, if nobody else is around? I bet you’re hoping I’m going to say something ambitious, like “a gently poached chicken breast, cooled and sliced across a vegetable salad with a hand-whisked vinaigrette,” because that happens, ever. Or maybe you’re hoping that this is where I tell you about my secret peanut butter fluff with crumbled potato chip sandwich habit, alas, I’m not even interesting enough at lunchtime to be scandalous. The sad truth is, if I’ve by some miracle found a couple hours to get work done in relative peace, I’m ecstatic, and I find hunger an inconvenience. If I must succumb, whatever I make for lunch must be quick, and tends to fall into the Stuff On Bread category: avocado, olive oil, lemon and sea salt, peanut butter (always low-brow) and jam (always fancy), or, smashed soft egg.
Someone pointed out to me a few weeks ago that this site has not a single recipe in the archives for egg salad. However, unlike the time I realized the broccoli archives boasted but a single recipe (and quickly sought to populate it) or the time I accepted that a quickie from-scratch homemade chicken noodle soup deserves a place in every arsenal, the egg salad-shaped hole in the archives went unnoticed less due to editorial oversight and more because, well, you know: egg salad; it’s pretty dull. Could anything be more uninspired than an amalgamation of smashed-up hard-boiled eggs and the dreaded mayonnaise? I mean, have you seen the yellow, flavorless mounds of dubious origin and assembly date most delis scoop onto a slice of bread and try to pass off as lunch? It would hardly make an enthusiast out of you. Or anyone.
Seeing as I once argued that rice pudding should be breakfast food (what? grains, milk, a bit of sugar, sometimes berries — just like oatmeal!) it shouldn’t be any surprise that I’m now wondering if risotto could also be welcome in the earliest parts of the day. I mean, what if contained bacon and eggs? What if I warned you that if you start making risotto with leeks and bacon and finish it with a fried egg that you might not be able to go back to eating it another way? You can’t say I didn’t give you a heads-up.
I wish I could tell you that I had good reasons for sharing this recipe today, earnest ones. If I were a different sort of writer, I might dig deep into my past and crank out a few graphs about my late German grandfather, who ate a soft-boiled egg for breakfast every morning for as long as my mother remembers. (Also, brisket for dinner.) Maybe I’d tell you about the period of 2004 when I did the same, pining for the perfect crouton, perhaps buttered toast fingers raised to a previously unfathomable level of deliciousness, but didn’t get to it until this week.
Due to a delightful clerical error (a scheduled babysitter when we forgot Alex would be home from work), I got to have a weekday lunch with my husband on President’s Day. In a restaurant. With linens on the table and no sippy cups in a two-table radius! Oh, and maybe something petite, bubbly and pink in a glass. I admit nothing. But man, sometimes I think everyone should have kids just so they can get 80 times the joy out of excursions that would have been ordinary in another era. I am joking, of course. You should have kids because you detest sleeping past 6 a.m. Whoops, there I go again. It must be the pink bubbly.
I used to make a lot of quiches and savory tarts. I still think they’re one of the food Greats; a delicious, buttery crust and almost any filling you can think of. With a salad of mixed greens and some crisp-tender green beans with flaky salt, I’m not sure I’ve ever needed anything else to fill out a meal. Oh wait, a glass of wine. Now that there is some Deb Meal Bliss.
Let me get this out of the way from the get-go: I cannot believe I’m discussing scrambled eggs today. I like to think of myself as somewhat particular in vetting out what I think is worthy or not worthy of your humble click over here, and I can’t say that scrambled eggs would normally make the cut. In fact, if you are happy with your scrambles, if you’re pretty sure you’ve got that whole moving the egg around the pan thing down pat, I won’t even be offended if you come back next time, when I figure out what to do with the four pounds of strawberries in my fridge. Or last time, when we made rhubarb tarts.